Acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis (massive necrosis) with fat necrosis induced in mice by DL-ethionine fed with a choline-deficient diet

Am J Pathol. 1975 Jun;79(3):465-80.


Female, albino mice were fed a choline-deficient diet containing 0.5% DL-ethionine. All animals died within 5 days due to the development of an acute hemorrhagic pancreatis with fat necrosis throughout the peritoneal cavity. The apancreatitis was characterized by a massive necrosis of the exocrine parenchyma with intense hemorrhage and inflammatory reaction of the stroma. The sequence of histologic and ultrastructural alterations occurring in the acinar cells of the pancreas were studied in mice fed the diet for 1, 2, and 3 days. Major findings consited of accumulation of zymogen granules, vacuolation due to foci of cytoplasmic degradation, and alterations in the morphology of the zymogen granules. The pancreatitis appears to be due to intraparenchymal activation of zymogens, resulting from a synergistic action of choline deficiency with the basic toxicity of ethionine toward the acinar cells of the pancreas. The experimental model simulates closely the acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis with fat necrosis occurring in humans and may prove useful for exploring the pathogenesis of this condition.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adipose Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Autopsy
  • Choline Deficiency / complications*
  • Choline Deficiency / etiology
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Diet*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Ethionine*
  • Female
  • Golgi Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Hemorrhage / mortality
  • Islets of Langerhans / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Necrosis / etiology*
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreas / ultrastructure
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Pancreatitis / mortality
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure


  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Ethionine